Newswise — Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman, MD, MS, chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at University of California San Diego School of Medicine has been named as the 2023 president-elect of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM).

SMFM is the leading society and national voice for more than 5,500 highly qualified maternal-fetal medicine (MFM) subspecialist physicians, as well as scientists, nurses, genetic counselors, ultrasound technicians and administrators, with expertise in high-risk pregnancy and collaboration for optimal and equitable perinatal outcomes.

“Good health begins before birth, with maternal-fetal medicine helping to ensure the well-being of both parents-to-be and their unborn children,” said John M. Carethers, MD, vice chancellor for Health Sciences at UC San Diego. “Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman has advocated for both research excellence and compassionate care so that her patients, especially those most at risk, have the best chance at a long and healthful life. She will be an extraordinary leader for SMFM.”

Established in 1977, the core initiatives of SMFM are to advance knowledge, education and research on complications that compromise the health of patients during pregnancy. High-risk pregnancies include those with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, lupus or heart disease, acute conditions developed during pregnancy, infectious diseases, preterm birth, prior pregnancy complications, twins, triplets, higher-order multiples and birth defects or genetic conditions that may affect the fetus.

SMFM develops clinical guidelines subject to a multi-layer peer approval process to improve and technologically advance MFM.

"Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman and her team have elevated the specialty care provided to our high-risk patients entering parenthood on a local and national level. This patient population requires the highest level of care and sensitivity,” said Patty Maysent, CEO, UC San Diego Health. “We are honored to have Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman lead such a reputable organization and use her deep expertise to shape national guidelines that will help improve outcomes for future patients and their growing families.”

Recognized worldwide with dual board certification in obstetrics and gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine, Gyamfi-Bannerman, perinatologist at UC San Diego Health, specializes in obstetric complications with a primary focus on preterm birth prevention. She became chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine in 2021 and was named Samuel SC Yen Endowed Chair.

A member of the Board of SMFM and past vice chair of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Clinical Consensus Committee, Gyamfi-Bannerman is a highly respected professor in the field.

Elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) in 2023, Gyamfi-Bannerman is a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded researcher and has served as lead principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator for clinical trials in the areas of preterm birth, antenatal corticosteroids, preeclampsia and maternal morbidity and health disparities.

She is a steward for progressing clinical innovation and proactively seeks to improve perinatal outcomes in women at risk for late preterm birth.

“Guiding patients with complicated pregnancies on their journey to childbirth is a true joy. As part of the region’s only academic medical center, we are combining leading edge research and clinical care to offer our patients the most advanced treatment while optimizing equitable pregnancy outcomes,” said Gyamfi-Bannerman. “The opportunity to serve such an important role for SMFM is an honor. I look forward to working on efforts that will make an impactful difference for so many patients.”

U.S. News & World Report ranked UC San Diego Health a 2022-2023 Best Hospital for Maternity Care and Obstetrics & Gynecology. This award recognizes the highest standards of care in childbirth, caesarean section rates, newborn complication rates, breast milk feeding rates, early elective delivery rates, routine vaginal birth after cesarean delivery rates, episiotomy rates and “birthing-friendly” practices for patients of different races and ethnicities.

The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine is home to seven divisions at UC San Diego Health, including maternal-fetal medicine, complex family planning, gynecologic oncology, reproductive endocrinology and infertility, obstetrics and gynecology and hospitalists.

Seventeen state-of-the-art basic and translational research laboratories, The Center for Perinatal Discovery, The Center for Reproductive Science and Medicine and The Center for Innovation and Research are supported by the department.

U.S. News & World Report ranked UC San Diego Health #1 in San Diego with 10 specialties ranked nationally, including #26 for obstetrics and gynecology care. UC San Diego Health also ranks among the top ten academic medical centers in the U.S., according to Vizient, Inc.

Faculty in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine are principal or co-investigators receiving millions in extramural grants from the NIH, the National Science Foundation, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and specialty foundations.


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